Monday, May 05, 2008

On Frustrating days

If I don't write this I will go mad. There are unbelievable things that only seem to happen to me. People, I am sure, have faced embarrassing moments on the cricket field. My friend Kaatu Panni had probably seen worse stuff a good decade ago. Stationed at long leg, he spotted his 'love interest' (daavu) walking towards the cricket ground. He despo'ly wanted to do some heroic stuff to impress her. As the daavu approaches the ground and is only but a few yards away from him, right on cue, the batsman hits out a skier. KP does the unnecessary thing of cockily flipping out his collar, moves a few inches positions himself underneath the ball and slowly closes his hands on the ball. The ball misses his hand finger et all, lands on his cheek. He falls down and stays down for a while. I don't have a clue as to what the girl thought of him but we made sure he never forgot that day.

I have had some share of good luck. 6 years ago, during my first match for a team, I was stationed at point. The batsman cut a short ball in my direction and the ball was flying away from me. I am not a super-duper fielder and can be considered as 'safe and steady' at best. I had no hope of catching it. I just hung out my hand arbitrarily, the ball hit my palm, bounced up and, funnily enough, I unbelievably caught the rebound. Contrast that to last weekend. The return of cricket into my life met with disaster-levels that KP could have never even imagined. I was fielding at point for one end and when the batsman changed ends - I had to run and field at mid-wicket. A Zimbabwean opener from the opponent team was making us look like dogs. He had made 50 and already had benefited from 2 dropped catches.

I was standing at point and saw him hit 2 sixes in that over. Last ball of the over and I thought if only he hit it towards me, I wouldn't miss the catch. And the unbelievable happened. He swung, took a top edge and the ball came towards me as the frustrated bowler yelled a blood chilling cry "caaaatch ittt". There are times when everything appears in slow mo, I could see the seam of the ball spin furiously. It was a sitter, I remember thinking the word "sitter". I thought I had caught it. However, the ball hit my hand and popped out of it, only for me to tap the ball back up in the air again but the rebound fell too far away.

And I heard someone shout "can anybody in this team catch the fuckin' ball".

I was embarrassed and wanted to bury myself somewhere. My only prayer was that the ball would never come near me for like really long time. The very next ball, and now I am at midwicket, the same batsman (who had changed ends) pulls a short ball high into the air in my general direction. The ball travels so far up that my eyes are blinded by the sunlight and I lose track of the ball. After a few seconds of desperately searching that stupid white thing in the air, I give up in disgust only to find the ball land barely a foot away from me. I look up to find my entire team staring at me. The batsman goes on to make 98.

And the day gets even bad.

Given my 'altimaate' performance, I wasn't hoping to get a bat until 8 wickets had fallen. My confidence was at shit-level. And as luck would have it I was asked to pad-up for 2-down during the change over. I walked in at 50 for 2 and before I could face a ball it was 50-4. Soon the bowler got into a fight with me for backing-up too much. I have this habit of standing behind the umpire at the non-strikers end and take a start by doing walk-run as the bowler approaches the delivery stride. This calms down my frayed nerves and gets my feet moving. Apparently this distracted the bowler. We had the usual 3-minute argument about rules and regulations and finally I was told that I could do my back-up thing. Arguments are good. It distracts one from getting nervous.

With that argument won, I find that the new batsman at the other end couldn't score a single. For 3 overs - he kept playing and missing. When he managed to connect he only went as far as hitting the ball straight to the fielder. In his great excitement he starts calling me for non-existent singles. After a few 'stay' and 'no' - he gives me pearls of wisdom about "run! don't care where the ball goes". Apparently that is his way of distracting himself from getting nervous. Arguments are followed by sarcasm and then a few minutes later - anger. The inevitable fight ensues and four letter words get exchanged between the striker and the non-striker. Now we are drenched in distraction and nobody is nervous.

Not ideal an situation for batting. Some days batting is all about controlling oneself from suthifying. Every ball is a plea from one inner voice to the other inner voice to resist the suthify-urge. This was one such day where the other voice wouldn't listen at all. As expected I 'gaada suthify' the next ball and get out by top-edging to, who else, the point fielder. The other batsman did the same, the very next ball. We lost. I can't think of a better way to begin a season. Sometimes there are days when everything one does is so wrong.


shrivatsan said...

Welcome back!

anantha said...

Goundar sollara madhiri, arasiyal la idhellam sagajam appa!

Karthik Sriram said...


this IS some weird coincidence. I wrote a blogpost sometime yesterday about me getting back to cricket and today you do so too!

Anyways, I had better luck - I managed to score some runs!! But then, yeah my ground fielding sucked and bowling - better left unsaid!


Arun Sundar said...

Nice description thalaiva! Your striker throwing some pearls of wisdom by saying "Run, dont care where the ball goes!" and you considering thats his way to handling nervousness made me laugh :)

Goundar solradha Anantha solra maadhiri arasiya'la idhellaam sagajam appa! ;)

sundar said...

/* There are unbelievable things that only seem to happen to me. */

respectfully disagree. ;) Murphy's law is universal you know.

/* Every ball is a plea from one inner voice to the other inner voice to resist the suthify-urge */.

so true.

Anonymous said...

couldn't you get a better name than kaatu panni :D ..

Karthick Prabu said...

:D Good one. Could visualize your cricket game virtually. When I first read "KP" in the post, I was shocked for a moment. Coz, I am known as KP among my friends. Later, came to know that KP is Kaatu Panni :P

Anonymous said...

You are playing cricket???

how did you end up at 'point'???

Do you guyz have a website?

How is the Newberry?


Anonymous said...

Nice Post !
You should use an Indian social bookmarking widget like PrachaarThis to let your users easily bookmark your blog posts.

Anonymous said...

you should check this out

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

Mukundhan said...

Atleast you did not drop catches trying to please some "daavu" like Mr.KP did. That should provide you some solace.
Having a bad day in the field is not something strange. The Indian team has it quite often.
Cheer up da.